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Justin Langer

Justin Langer hints at Burns as opener over Pucovski

Australia news

Australia coach Justin Langer acknowledged the incredible form Will Pucovski is in, but is reluctant to split the successful opening pair of David Warner and Joe Burns in Tests.

The uncapped Pucovski made a strong case for selection to the Test XI to take on India, with back-to-back double centuries in the Sheffield Shield. Burns, meanwhile, hasn't made more than 30 in any of his five innings this season.

Langer, however, is keeping faith in the Warner and Burns partnership for now, despite Victoria batsman Puvocski "doing everything that's humanly possible" to break into the playing XI.

The Warner-Burns pair averages 50.55 for the first wicket in Tests and has six century stands. The last of those is their most recent partnership, in Sydney during the third Test against New Zealand in January 2020.

"Last time we played Test cricket, we loved the combination of Joe Burns and David Warner. They've got a real synergy, they work well together, so at this point I'd say that'll remain the same," Langer explained.

"When guys have done a really good job for us – like in this case that Joe and Davey did for us last summer – there's a reason we're ranked the No.1 team in Test cricket.

"We should never underestimate the job the guys have done to get us to where we are. We went through a period when there were lots of ins and outs, and in my view we should back the guys in there. That can change, but it's a pretty strong philosophy to stick to."

We loved the combination of Joe Burns and David Warner. They've got a real synergy, they work well together, so at this point I'd say that'll remain the same."

Justin Langer, Australia coach

Burns and Pucovski are both part of the Australia A side named to play two practice games before the four World Test Championship matches against India. The two might also be paired together at the top in the first of these games, but the head coach does not see it as a "bat-off" between them. 

"Joe Burns has done really well for us," he said. "Will Pucovski, we are really looking forward to seeing how he steps up to Australia A. It will be great to see him play against India, a new step up for him, so it's an exciting time. Competition is healthy."

Continuing with his praise of the youngster, Langer added, "[Will's] been amazing hasn't he, and it's exactly what we are looking for. I've said it for a very long time that we want guys who are outside of the team to bang so hard you can't ignore them. The fact is he's been so good we can't ignore him, he's been brilliant.

"What Will's doing, what Cameron Green has done, is making a real statement through sheer weight of runs and that's always been a strong foundation for the strength of Australian cricket."

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